BISHCA, 9.20.2011 The Vermont Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities & Health Care Administration (BISHCA) has been awarded a three-year, $3.8 million grant from the federal Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). The grant is part of the ‘Affordable Care Act ‘ Rate Review Grant Program’ and was awarded through HHS’s Office of Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight. ‘We are extremely pleased to learn that we’ve been awarded this grant,’ said Commissioner Steve Kimbell. ‘Linking knowledgeable Vermont consumers to the health insurance rate setting process is an important tool in controlling health care costs. This grant is yet another example of the benefit to Vermont of President Obama’s health care reform legislation.’ BISHCA had applied for the funds to enhance the rate review process, ensuring greater transparency and access to affordable health insurance for Vermont residents. BISHCA will use these funds to develop filing standards for Third Party Administrators, post rate filings for public comment to its website and build the data and analytical structure to support a more comprehensive rate review process.US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Affordable Care Act grant awards of $3,804,045 to Vermont that will help fight unreasonable premium increases and protect consumers. HHS also released a new report entitled Rate Review Works detailing how previous rate review grants are fighting premium hikes and helping make the health insurance marketplace more transparent.As of September 1, 2011, the Affordable Care Act requires health insurers seeking to increase their rates by 10 percent or more in the individual and small group market to submit their request to experts to determine whether the rates are unreasonable. The Affordable Care Act also requires insurance companies to publicly justify unreasonable premium rate increases. These provisions will bring greater transparency, accountability, and, in many cases, lower costs for families and small business owners who struggle to afford coverage.‘We’re committed to fighting unreasonable premium increases and we know rate review works,’ said Secretary Sebelius. ‘States continue to have the primary responsibility for reviewing insurance rates and these grants give them more resources to hold insurance companies accountable.’The Affordable Care Act provides States with $250 million in Health Insurance Rate Review Grants, $48 million of which has previously been awarded to 42 States, the District of Columbia and five territories.As outlined in the new report, these grants and other State rate review efforts are already making a difference in Vermont. The state has used funds to further standardize its filing requirements. In an effort to expand their analysis of rates, the Insurance Division is conducting an extensive review of claims data. The State’s consumer website was also updated to include consumer-friendly rate summaries as well as a consumer comment capability.The grants awarded today help to create a more level playing field by improving how States review proposed health insurance rates and holding insurance companies accountable for disclosing information about unjustified rate increases.Vermont is proposing to use Cycle II grant funds in the following ways:Expand scope of rate review: Vermont will continue to review minor health insurance products of insurance and will continue to enhance the review rates in the large group market.Improve rate filing requirements: Vermont plans to continue the development of filing standards for individual and small group and will continue collecting relevant data and information from Third Party Administrators (TPAs).Improve transparency and consumer interfaces: Vermont will maintain and enhance its new rate review website, post filings within 5 days of receipt to encourage consumer comment, and use market research to support the State’s review of rate increases.Hire new staff: Vermont will create 2 new positions with Cycle II grant funding; these positions are in addition to the 1 position created with Cycle I resources.Improve IT: Vermont plans to build the data and analytical structure to support a more comprehensive rate review process with enhanced transparency, including the integration of hospital budget reviews in the rate review process.A summary of how each State will use the new resources can be found in the report released today.‘The proposals from the States overwhelmingly demonstrate the need, and desire, for new resources and tools to hold insurance companies accountable,’ said Steve Larsen, Director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight. ‘Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, States will have more of the tools they need to crack down on insurance companies that want to pass unreasonable premium hikes on to hard working families.’Information about significant State achievements with previous rate review grants can also be found in the report.Rate review builds on other provisions in the Affordable Care Act to help make health insurance more affordable for individuals, families, and businesses. Other steps the law takes to help make insurance more affordable include:Insurers are generally required to meet a medical loss ratio standard to spend at least 80 percent of premium dollars on health care and quality-improvement activities as opposed to overhead, advertising, and executive bonuses. Insurers that fail to meet that standard must either reduce premiums or pay rebates to consumers and employers;Small businesses are eligible for Federal tax credits of up to 35 percent of the cost of coverage for their workers. That amount rises to 50 percent by 2014; andIn 2014, the Affordable Insurance Exchanges will use competition and transparency, including information on excessive or unjustified premium increases, to help make insurance more affordable.The Affordable Care Act includes a variety of provisions designed to promote accountability, affordability, quality, and accessibility in the health care system for all Americans, and to make the health insurance market more consumer-friendly and transparent. Some of the provisions are already in effect, including prohibitions on pre-existing condition exclusions for children; prohibitions on lifetime dollar limits in all health plans; extended access to insurance for many young adults; and an unprecedented level of transparency about health insurance through www.HealthCare.gov(link is external).For the full Rate Review Works report, please visit: http://www.healthcare.gov/law/resources/reports/rate-review09202011a.pdf(link is external)For a fact sheet on the awards announced today, please visit: http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2011/09/rate-review09202011a.html(link is external)
Quick HitsHead underground with an experienced caver. River RevitalizationDuring times of hardship, community leaders in North Carolina are once again looking to the Roanoke River. Read or download the December-January issue for FREE HERE Special Sections Recovering What’s Lost and ForgottenMeet a Baltimore-based relic hunter searching for remnants of the past. ExploreIf the mountains get too cold, escape to the coast and explore these Low Country winter adventures. PerspectiveReflections from a year of living outside. Embrace the ColdWinter is upon us, and despite the frigid temps, it’s time to stay stoked about being outside. Cumberland in CrisisA commercial rocket facility could regularly close a national seashore in Georgia to the public. On the Cover: Drew Flores catches air in the terrain park at Beech Mountain Resort in the North Carolina High Country. Photo by Sam Dean New Year, New GearWe’ve got a rundown on the best new outdoor equipment and apparel coming in 2021. Departments Winter Adventures in the Blue RidgeJust because the sun is setting earlier doesn’t mean it’s time to hibernate. Winter WarmersIt’s time to get out and play in the snow, so we present these tools to help you enjoy your time in the cold. Features ReflectionsLessons from cooperation in the woods. Close CallAn avid adventurer faces her toughest challenge yet, when she’s suddenly hit with a brain aneurysm. This Winter Go WildWe’re looking forward to some snow days in the South. Here’s where we’ll be snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and climbing. Plus, a look at how to ski safely during the ongoing pandemic. Leader of the PackMeet the guy who’s been leading llamas up Tennessee’s rugged Mount LeConte since 2002.
Share Share 759 Views no discussions LocalNews Highlights of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture Exposition by: – October 13, 2011 Sharing is caring! Agricultural produce featured by DAPEXAs part of the 10th Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) which is being hosted in Dominica this week, an exposition was officially opened last night at the Windsor Park Sports Stadium in Roseau at the official opening of the CWA.Several farmers and local producers have been given the opportunity to showcase their agricultural produce and arts and crafts.Among the highlights of the exposition are farine and toloma which is locally grown, produced and packaged by the Toloma Women’s Group in Action, Banilo; a banana cereal locally grown, produced and packaged, agricultural produce on display by the Dominica Agricultural Producers & Exporters Limited (DAPEX), arts and crafts made out of wood by Albert Casimir, shoes, hats and bags locally made using madras cloth by Edna’s Creole Creations, and wildlife like our national bird the Sisserou Parrot, iguana, agouti, rabbits, boa constrictor on display by the Forestry Wildlife & Parks Division President of the Toloma Women’s Group in Action, Albertha SorhaindoToloma Women’s Group in ActionPresident of the Toloma Women’s Group in Action Albertha Sorhaindo explained to Dominica Vibes News the method used to create the farine which is locally grown and produced.“The farine is taken from cassava; it is made out of cassava. When we harvest the cassava, we scratch it, after we scratch it we grind it after grinding it we compress it to remove some of the starch from it and after compressing it, it is placed into a large pot. The process after that is called farine. So we buy it from farmers and package it for selling. The produce is sold ready to serve, it only requires hot or cold water and it can be eaten as a cereal.”The farine can also be used to make Avocado Balls; the recipe for which has been included on the package, and can be purchased at the following supermarkets; H. H. V Whitchurch in Portsmouth and Roseau, Duveryney’s in Portsmouth, J. Astaphans & Company in Roseau, Green’s wholesale in Roseau and Loubiere and Mam’s Supermarket in Massacre.They can also be contacted via telephone on 446 2193 in Delices.Albert CasimirAlbert Casimir CreationsAlbert Casimir who creates arts and crafts like necklaces, earrings, pendants and bracelets was also part of the exposition.He explained that the crafts are all made using from locally grown wood which he purchases to create his pieces.“I make necklaces, bracelets, pendants and earrings out of different pieces of wood which are grown on the island like red cedar, mahogany, blue maho, white cedar to name a few. I purchase the wood to make my designs. I made some new designs using two different kinds of wood together like mahogany and blue maho to make pendants and people are saying very positive things about them, they appreciate my work.”[nggallery id =80]Mr Casimir sells his crafts on the Roseau Bay Front opposite J. E. Nassief when there is a cruise ship in Port or in Pottersville across the Miniya’s 7-11 Supermarket. Creole shoes made by Edna’s Creole CreationsEdna’s Creole CreationsAlso on display were some locally made creole shoes, bags and hats by Edna. [nggallery id =79]She can be contacted on the following telephone numbers; 767 449 0175 and 767 275 1245 or email [email protected] Cream CerealBanilo Cream CerealBanilo Cream Cereal is a new locally produced cereal made out of banana. Tridel Edwin, the son of the Founder and General Manager of Banilo explained to Dominica Vibes News that the product is instant and only requires hot water. “It is banana cereal which is instant; you just add hot water to the cereal and mix. It was actually founded by my father James Edwin, we have been practicing it for a while now at home locally and now we are trying to bring it out to the market. Everything is done locally but we get the package from Barbados, everything else is locally designed and produced. It is not yet on the shelves in supermarkets yet but we do intend on getting that out there before the year ends.”Although Banilo Cream Cereal is not yet available in supermarkets locally, interested persons can contact Mr Edwin via telephone on 767 449 6051 and 767 295 9647 or email [email protected] Wildlife & Parks DivisionThe Forestry Wildlife and Parks Division featured several of our exotic birds, wildlife and wood species at the Caribbean Week of Agriculture Exposition.Featured at the expo was a preserved Sisserou Parrot as well as a live Parrot, the National Flower Bwais Caribe, the different butterfly species on the island, snakes, rabbits, crabs, seeds, wood among others.Here are a few photographs of the exhibits: [nggallery id = 78]Dominica Vibes News Tweet Share